The sky is the limit when it comes to character creation, but here are some unique aspects of this chosen profession you can consider.
What do you do when you're not decking?
There's a looooot of fun stuff you can do as a decker. But must people do unplug from time to time and have other professions/hobbies/activities. Basically stuff you like to do,
or do to keep nuyen coming in when you're between jobs.
Some examples of classic Decker work:
Creating fake SIN's (ID's), data steals, money laundering, simsense chip creation, graphic-visual design, BTL creation, forging cred sticks (money), communication encryption, communication decryptions, data cracking, destroying official records, disabling security systems, creating Matrix programs and IC for yourself or others, skillsofts, creating bot programs for the Matrix/drones/machinery or other projects.....
Bootlegging music/movies/libraries and other digital copyrighted data. In a world where knowledge is power, and Corps have extra-territoriality + military to back it up, burning
illegal copies of some copyrighted do-dad and distributing it is big business.
Hermatic Mages in particular rely on copyrighted formulas and library collections (usually stored on datasofts in this day and age) for their magic. Street mages can rarely afford buying a legit copy – so the black market is huge.
Note for Mages: For the very reason of the black market, often the very best spells created are hidden by good old secrecy. The mage or the Corp that owns the mage doesn't sell the good stuff, but will make the spell available to all other mages in the Corps employ via a corporate network somewhere.
Other common hobbies, organizations and motivations:
“Knowledge wants to be free” - hacking and publicizing information for great justice. Modern-day anonymous in a much darker world, you may run it through Shadowlands (Matrix Home of the hackers and SINless of the world) or run a illegal radio/trideo station.
“Fuck the Corps and the Government (if you can even tell them apart)” - Shadowrunners tend to be of a neo-anarchist bent – Deckers, with their roots in 1990/2000 hacker communities are even more so. Laws were made to be broken.
“For the *Homeland*/*Race*/*Gang*!” You may not have a strong ideology, but maybe you're very patriotic to the land of birth, your people or a gang you've got strong ties to. This can get interesting depending on your age and place of birth – the nation you're loyal to may no longer exist.
Good example of this would be Mexicans. Mexico ceased to exist in 2040, when the governments of most of Central America were essentially dissolved in a corporate take-over. In it's place is the country Aztlan, which controls all of Central America and is essentially an arm of the corporation Aztechnology. There's a couple of runners in lore who are very loyal to Mexico the country, call themselves Mexicans, and are fierce supporters of Mexican independence. And they hate Aztlan.
“Just in it for the Nuyen or the thrill when electrons sing” - it doesn't have to be some grand motivation. You were born shit-poor in the slums, didn't have the connections or magical aptitude to get out, and now you want to make a living or a name for yourself.
How do you defend yourself outside of the matrix?
Eventually you’re going to get in trouble outside of the Matrix. Generally if you come from the streets, you’ve got skill with at least one kind of gun. But you may also have other skills that can come into play. Explosives (which can range from normal explosives to acid or anything else a chemist can make), incendiary devices, tech gadgets – your imagination (+time +money) is literally the only limit.
Deckers can also have skills from other professions entirely. Cyberware meshes well with anything – martial arts or covert ops can also be good skills to have.
What is your matrix persona?
The sheer volume and complexity of data and data management took huge leaps forward through the 21st century. To allow people to cope and more easily navigate the information, everything began being given visual representation. This visual representation of data in the modern Shadowrun world is the Matrix. Everything, from a utility program, white IC to a datastore, has a visual representation of some kind tied to it. When you jack in – that’s what you see and interact with.
The visual “look” of an area of a matrix will always be influenced by the deckers and wage-coders that designed it, the corp they work for or the level of effort put forth. Poor areas like Pullyup or Barrens will look shabby, barely held together and scarce. The Matrix of Downtown Seattle is like Vegas – neon lights everywhere, glittering corporate logos everywhere and a thousand images.
Every Decker has a visual representation – a Persona – that he appears as on the Matrix. It can be anything, just so long as it’s vaguely humanoid. Some elven deckers have a fondness for Medieval imagery and will appear as anything from knights to. Generally Shadow deckers often go for subtle and stealthy in appearance rather then super flashy. Flashy means easy to find means dead.
Your basic program types – stealth, detection, defense and attack – are also visually represented. Your defense program may show up as a steel shield or a techno-light disk. Your imagination is the only limitation.